Avoiding Student Loan Debt

It’s that time of year again. In a few short months there will be tons of high school students around the state and country who are graduating and getting ready to pursue further education. One of the major challenges in the lives of our young adults is student loan debt. Whether you decide to go in state or out of state, chances are you’ll run into some kind of need for loans. The good news is that there are ways you can keep your student loan debt to a minimum if you’re willing to put in the work. Here are a few tips to keeping the student loans down so you won’t be met with an unpleasant graduation present of paying back thousands of dollars after graduating.

Become an RA

Generally incoming first year students aren’t eligible to become a resident assistant, but if you’ve been at school for a year and are planning on living on campus, consider becoming an RA. Consider this: If you got a single dorm room at the University of Maine, with an unlimited eating plan, you’ll be dishing out over $11,500 just in room and board alone! That doesn’t even include your normal tuition costs. Become an RA at most colleges and they’ll pay your room and board. That’s quite the savings, even if you only do it for 2 years of college.

Work Study

Apply for a work study position and have your salary go towards your student loan debt. Sure, it might not seem like a great idea at the time not getting paid with a weekly paycheck for the hours you put in, but most work studies are part time, and your wallet will thank you on the back end of your college experience. Trust us, a $1000 a month loan payment for 10 years can be quite disheartening when you’re trying to get established.

Apply for Scholarships

This may seem like a no brainer, but when you’re looking forward to graduating high school and not having to write essays or take tests, applying for a scholarship can seem like a major drag. There’s paperwork to be filled out, there’s essays to be written, and there’s money to be given away! Many local businesses give away scholarships to local students (ahem…Trek to Success). Don’t want to put in the effort to look for scholarships? Check out Scholly. It’s an app that literally does all the work for you. Check it out!

Work Part Time

Yes, someone has probably told you “Take out all the money you can and don’t worry about working. It’s all about the college experience!”…and to that we say, get some new friends. If you aren’t eligible for work study, find a local business to work for part time. Check out serving and hosting at local establishments. Often times restaurant are flexible with schedules as many of their employees are also in school. Put some of the money aside and you won’t get as bogged down when the loan payments start.

Live With Your Parents

Wait…what? NOOOOOOO… YES! If your parents are within commuting distance, live with them for a few years. Sure, your friends may look at you funny when you call your mom to see if they can come over to hang out, but you’ll have the last laugh when you’ve saved yourself thousands of dollars and can afford to rent a place once you graduate…and your friends will ironically be living back with their parents due to high studnt debt.

Community College

If you aren’t sure what you want to do in school right off the bat, consider getting your Gen Eds done at a community college. They are a heck of a lot cheaper than state schools/universities and most, if not all of your credits will be transferrable. This is also a great route to go if you didn’t do great in high school but you still want to attend a certain school. Knock it out of the park in community college and they’ll look at you differently when you reapply. What are your money savings tips? -The Taconnet Team